Okay, I’m not saying it’s very good, but I gotta admit, HOUSE PARTY 3 wasn’t as bad as I expected. Actually I was kinda impressed that each installment covers a different part of Kid’s life. Part 1 he’s (improbably) in high school maintaining friendships, bonding with his dad, starting his first serious relationship. Part 2 he’s going to college, learning about his heritage, facing challenges in keeping his girlfriend, dealing with loss. Now, for part 3, he says goodbye to childish things. He’s lost the fade and is thinking about cutting his hair altogether. He must decide how much he believes in his future as a rapper, accept that his parts 1-2 girlfriend Sidney wasn’t who he was meant to be with, and trust that his woman Veda (Angela Means) loves him even when she’s around naked dudes. All this because he’s about to get married. In HOUSE PARTY 3, Kid becomes Man.
So, the hair isn’t sticking up like that anymore. Is that gonna be a problem? He cut it during CLASS ACT, so obviously it’s gone now. The dreadlocks are longer than in that movie, as if he still has the hair but just maintains it different. But I notice he wears alot of headbands that seem to hold the dreads up like he’s trying to subconsciously remind you of the shape that used to be up there. Remember, America? The fun times we had with that fade?
With the wedding coming up the extended family is in town. Kid I think lives with his Aunt Lucy (Ketty Lester), whose late stage dementia is played for laughs. His Uncle Vester (Bernie Mac, WHO’S THE MAN?) comes to stay with them, and also his dipshit cousins, novelty rap trio “Immature,” credited as playing themselves. It’s that old joke where the kids are supposed to be hilarious and cool because they act like adults in a music video, all dressed up and using slang, committing fraud and sexually harassing adult women, who turn them down but smile as if tempted. The thing is, with their silly oversized clothing, novelty hats, dangly beaded dreadlocks and non-prescription glasses (one kid has his rap name painted over the lenses, so he has to keep them low on his nose like bifocals) the adults they’re trying to dress up as also look like complete jackasses. And not just because these styles are dated – P.M. Dawn were already the butt of jokes when they were brand new.
In the tradition of Part 2 there’s a questionable check transfer (the brats get a check from the airport because they somehow put their luggage in the bushes and say it was lost, then they give the check to Chris Tucker to pay for a stripper). And Play gets himself and Kid in trouble by defrauding a gangsterish music producer named Showboat (Michael Colyar) to pay for Kid’s bachelor party. Other than reserving some tuxes it seems like there’s no worry about preparations for the wedding itself, just the bachelor and bachelorette parties, paying for the catering and strippers and what not, all of which gets shanghaied by the little kids for their house party. See, you set a bad example for the younger generation, using trickery to fund your party, they follow your example. It takes a village, you know.
Part 3 continues the tradition of plucking talent from the Comedy Act Theater. Colyar is a comedian, and obviously Mac. Eddie Griffin has a scene as a friend at the bachelor party, Chris Tucker has a scene as “Johnny Booze,” provider of strippers. He says “Same time, man, I don’t know you!” just like in MONEY TALKS (was that supposed to be a HOUSE PARTY 3 reference?)
Martin Lawrence I guess was too big with his sitcom to come back as Bilal, but his TV co-star Tisha Campbell has a “special appearance” as Sidney, back in town to make Kid and his fiancee uncomfortable. Actually she’s used well, having her gone for most of the movie brings some weight to her two scenes, like Dolph in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION.
TLC have a couple of scenes as a hot unsigned group called Sex As a Weapon. They deliver all their lines in goofy voices that must be some kind of inside joke, I guess. Then they do a song with Kid ‘n Play at the end.
The addition of Uncle Vester was a smart move for filling the hole left by the death of Robin Harris. Bernie Mac was a fan and colleague of Harris and as discussed before he was obviously influenced by his style of comedy. So here’s Mac playing Pop’s brother – he looks at a photo of him and keeps looking up and talking to him, to make sure you understand that. And he fills a similar role to Pops in the movie – lots of improvised jokes, lots of insults, with occasional mild sweetness when he tries to give Kid advice (“Boy, just be yourself. If people don’t like you when you’re being yourself, FUCK EM!”) or supports him when the in-laws are being snobs. He plays it much crazier than Harris did, though, so it’s not just imitating the same character. I noticed one little homage where he refers to a cop as “officer of the GOTdamn law,” as Harris used to do in his standup (and probly in part 1, I can’t remember for sure, it’s been days since I’ve seen it).
By the way, how are Veda’s parents gonna turn their noses up to Kid when the mom is played by an actress named “Simply Marvalous”?
Part 2 had two directors, part 3 only has one so to make up for it they have three simultaneous parties: the actual house party put on by Immature, the bachelorette party put on by cousin Janelle (Khandi Alexander), and the bachelor party (technically a hotel party, not a house party), all taking place simultaneous. Sorry, no pajamas.
Kid’s wimpy way of dealing with problems gets kind of tiresome in this one. It’s kind of a Will Smithian approach to comedy that makes it less movie and more sitcom. For example when the nephews say “What happened to the big booty girl you used to get with?” and embarrass him in front of his fiancee, instead of shutting them up he says, “Oh, look at the time!” like his friends and loved ones are bunch of dummies that can be distracted into forgetting the things that their ears hear.
There are some legitimately funny parts though, in my opinion. I don’t know why but I thought that the male stripper being named “Nightheat” was pretty funny. (Ice-T’s name in WHO’S THE MAN? was Nighttrain. I wonder if they’re related?) And my favorite part is when Showboat comes over to threaten Kid ‘n Play but sees Nightheat in action, gets jealous and joins him in stripping for the ladies.
Also there’s a touching scene where Sidney sincerely wishes the best to Veda in her marriage, and Veda says she misjudged her, she’s actually really nice. And her cousin says, “And her booty’s not that big.”
It was 1994. The times were a’changin. In hip hop it was the year of Nas’ Illmatic, Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die, and Method Man’s Tical. HOUSE PARTY 3’s soundtrack, which was less successful than the other two, mostly kept it light, with six Kid ‘n Play tracks, one by Immature, and several R&B tunes. But track #4 (the end credits song on the actual movie) is the rambunctious M.O.P. shouting “How About Some Hardcore.”
In the movie there’s a part where Play says the phrase “Ain’t nothin but a G thing, baby,” so he knows about the Chronic. And yet at the bachelor party they’re playing fucking “Whoot! There It Is.” Notice I didn’t say “Whoomp! (There It Is),” that’s the popular song. This is the one that actually came out earlier by a different group, but is basically the same song. I’m not clear how or why, but if I remember right “Whoomp” was chosen as the one to stick around when they had a competition on the Arsenio Hall Show. I guess you could argue that Kid ‘n Play are edgy for playing the earlier, lesser known version, but still. Over at the Immature party they’re playing “Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin)” from The Chronic. It’s clear that Kid ‘n Play are the old men now, they can’t throw a party like the little boys can. In fact, when they come home instead of being angry that his cousins lied to him, switched his porno with a Ninja Turtles movie, stole his strippers and chicken wings and trashed his house, Kid just joins the party and says, “I can’t believe those little hardheads can throw a hyper party than me and Play!”
So where have we gone in this trilogy? From first love to marriage, from sneaking out to responsibility, from highest-top fade to dreadlocks, from 2 hype to not 2 hype in my opinion. The spirit of the deceased father still looms over as parties have been thrown in various types of buildings both public and private. Full Force have apparently moved out of the neighborhood or retired from bullying. Play has learned almost nothing, he’s still a womanizing asshole who pretends he’s gonna give women jobs in the music industry in order to bang them. I thought they were gonna have him realize the error of his ways and hook up with Janelle at the end, but no such luck. Also he gets Kid in all kinds of unnecessary trouble with his various schemes, and it seems like nobody in their right mind would ever want to hang out with him. But he tries to be a good friend, I think.
I wonder what happened to George Clinton’s DJ character? Or annoyed neighbor John Witherspoon? And who did take the shit that broke the toilet, did they ever find that out? What if Full Force came back and apologized to Kid, helped defend him from Showboat like the Korean guy in BEST OF THE BEST 2 that was the bad guy in part 1? That would be cool. There are a few loose ends I guess, but I doubt they’ll be resolved in part 4, which wasn’t made to play in theaters and stars Immature instead of Kid ‘n Play.
So the torch has been passed. Kid ‘n Play no longer have the responsibility of throwing good house parties. They just have to make house payments.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.